In a sense, Banja Luka is the capital no one really wanted. Most Bosnian Serbs never wanted Bosnia to be independent. Most Bosnjaks and Croats aren’t too crazy about Republika Srpska. Politics and nationalism aside, the city probably has earned the title of the Balkan Wall Art Capital.
Even with a bit of travel experience on the Balkans it is hard to imagine how there could be a place with as many or even more graffiti and murals than Banja Luka.
And indeed, it seems the city government has been actively supporting street art for a number of years now.
The city’s walls have hosted and are hosting the works of art of international street painters as David Bailey from „An Englishman in the Balkans“ points out in his piece on Banja Luka wall art.
That has contributed to the generally high artistic level of murals in the city. Kinda shows, doesn’t it?
Every courtyard seems to be full of often sophisticated examples of wall art.
And not just the courtyards.
Occasionally there seems to be a competition going on how many graffiti you could possibly spray on a wall. Which often creates legibility issues.
A big thing is Borac, the local football club. It has very active fans, some artists among them.
The ultra section of Borac fans, the Red Blue Army, seems to be very active in advertising its existence. Balkan football has acquired a reputation for not so peaceful fans. Not just in Banja Luka but in all the Ex-YU-republics.
There are examples of blatant nationalism, too. This is after all a city on the Balkans.
To be fair they don’t seem to make up a significant portion of Banja Luka wall art. But then again, I just might have been in the wrong neighborhoods.
And some just are advertisements. Who needs posters, anyways? Art’s here to stay. Beauty salons not so much.